Dear Friends of MMTC:

We’ve had a busy year – and we’d like to share with you some of the stories that defined the past 12 months –

  • Our 2015 Entrepreneurs of the Year — Kongsue and Xeng Xiong – became the first Hmong owners of a broadcast station in Minneapolis.
  • Sherry Nelson, Ravi Kapur, and Jeff Chang all became TV station owners after Gray Television hired MMTC Media and Telecom brokers to manage the sale of six of its full-power TV stations to diverse buyers.
  • MMTC led an effort by over 30 of civil rights and social justice partners to expand the FCC’s Lifeline program to subsidize the cost of Internet at home for low income families.
  • MMTC joined the effort to heal the pain of exorbitant phone rates imposed on the families of incarcerated persons.
  • MMTC influenced the FCC to make significant moves to revitalize AM radio, a tremendous step forward in promoting diverse broadcast ownership
  • MMTC launched our new Net Equality Tour at the Steve Harvey Neighborhood Awards in Atlanta where we captured stories from 300 people about their use of the Internet.

Kongsue, Xeng, Sherry, Ravi, Jeff, countless radio station owners, and the families that will now benefit from lower prison phone rates are just a few of the many reasons for you to support MMTC.  During my first year as President and CEO of MMTC, taking the reins from David Honig, I have been inspired by stories like these and the urgent need for our work. As we approach our 30th Anniversary, we ask that you consider making a contribution to advance minority ownership; close the digital divide; create a legacy of multicultural media and telecom owners, suppliers, and content providers; and prepare the next generation of advocates and leaders.

Click here to make your tax deductible, online donation to MMTC now and help to promote diversity in the platforms of the future. You can also make an early contribution in support our 7th Annual Broadband and Social Justice Summit, 30 Years of Changing Channels: Platforms of the Future, January 20-21, 2015, at the Westin Georgetown in Washington, DC.


Kim Keenan
President and CEO

P.S.: In addition to online giving, I am happy to visit with you personally and to share with you the benefits of a legacy investment or named fellowship in MMTC.

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About MMTC:

The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) is a non-partisan, national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving equal opportunity and civil rights in the mass media, telecommunications and broadband industries, and closing the digital divide. MMTC is generally recognized as the nation’s leading advocate for minority advancement in communications.

The following article appeared on Radio World on November 11, 2015. MMTC President and CEO Kim Keenan discussed MMTC’s advocacy before the FCC, focusing on issues related to radio.


Kim KeenanKim M. Keenan became president/CEO of the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council a year ago. Radio World checked in with her on MMTC’s activities including its advocacy activities at the FCC.

Commentaries by MMTC are a recurring feature on

RW: Why does MMTC spend time and effort on radio issues at the FCC?

Keenan: Radio may be widely considered an “old” or “heritage” technology; but age is a sign of maturity and resilience. One of the key things about AM radio is that it’s been the entry technology for diverse ownership in the media and telecom space. Two-thirds of minority-owned radio stations are AMs, and most minority FM and television station owners got their start in AM. Also important, AM dominates the talk realm, encouraging the listening public to engage in discourse and discussion, and a great many minority-owned stations have extensive programming for that purpose. That’s especially true for multilingual stations, which provide vital news and information to their communities.

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This article by Kristal High originally appeared on Politic365.

spectrum-wireless-0869-602x338Spectrum, the radio waves we rely on to fuel interactions over our smartphones, tablets, wifi-enabled devices, and other wireless products, is a scare, valuable, and incredibly expensive asset.  Over the past decade as the demand for mobile products and services has increased, so too has the cost of spectrum licenses, making it more challenging for minority entrepreneurs and other businesses interested in providing spectrum-intensive services to be actively engaged in this space.

In an effort to encourage greater participation by minorities and women as spectrum holders, the Multicultural Media Telecom and Internet Council petitioned the Federal Communications Commission, the federal agency responsible for spectrum allocations, to:  [click to continue…]

All FCC Commissioners

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 27, 2015): Following a lengthy rulemaking proceeding, the Federal Communications Commission has taken several dramatic steps to revitalize AM radio.  The FCC’s announcement is a tremendous step forward in promoting diverse broadcast ownership, an issue that the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council – along with dozens of other national organizations and broadcast owners – have advocated for years.  The FCC unanimously adopted several engineering proposals in MMTC’s 2009 “Radio Rescue Petition,” including relaxations of restrictions on transmitter locations for daytime and night-time service.

“This is welcome news for diverse radio owners across the nation who are struggling to survive in a world where consumers are turning more to the Internet to get their entertainment, news, and information,” stated MMTC President and CEO Kim Keenan.  “We especially applaud Commissioners Pai and Clyburn for their recent calls to the other commissioners to act quickly on this important item.”  [click to continue…]

Prison Inmate CallingWASHINGTON, D.C. (October 22, 2015):  Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to adopt rate caps for all local and long distance calls from correctional facilities, eliminate and cap an endless array of fees, and ensure that every call made from prison or a jail is delivered with reasonable, just, and fair rates to the benefit of the incarcerated and their family and friends.  The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) commends the Commission for its vote today to ease and address the persistent “tax on pain” affecting millions of individuals seeking an affordable and consistent gateway to communications from prisons.  The rate caps are a significant action in the nation’s fight against cruel and unusual punishment.

“Today, the Commission addressed one of the most important social justice issues of our time,” stated MMTC President and CEO Kim Keenan. “A ceiling on inmate calling rates will allow families, especially children, to maintain contact with their imprisoned relatives, while reducing recidivism and empowering re-entry into society. Finally, it marks an end to stripping these families of wealth that could be used for education, training, and closing the digital divide.”  [click to continue…]

Spectrum AirwavesWASHINGTON, D.C. (October 20, 2015):  The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) recently filed a petition for reconsideration with the Federal Communications Commission, urging the Commission to address market entry barriers to minority ownership of commercial wireless spectrum through incentives for secondary market transactions.  Dr. Coleman Bazelon, an economist with two decades of experience in the wireless sector, offered expert testimony on the four proposals MMTC previously introduced to the Commission.  Those proposals were that the Commission:

  • consider secondary market transactions as a factor in whether to give a carrier rule waivers relating to ownership, including the mergers and acquisitions (“M&A”) context, and possibly attendant to the IP Transition;
  • consider secondary market transactions as a factor in determining whether to report to Congress that the wireless marketplace is competitive;
  • work with Congress to restore and refine the Tax Certificate Policy so that it would apply to secondary market transactions, enabling the seller to defer payment of the capital gains taxes on the sale upon reinvestment in comparable property; and
  • provide carriers that engage in secondary market transactions with a modest bidding credit in wireless auctions, or an opportunity to pay for the spectrum in installments.

In its July Competitive Bidding Report and Order, the Commission rejected MMTC’s proposals.  Yesterday, MMTC petitioned the Commission to reconsider, inasmuch as “the agency clearly agrees with MMTC that more should be done to promote secondary market transactions as a mechanism to advance competition and diversity in a capital-intensive industry vital to the nation’s economy.”  [click to continue…]

Today, the Multicultural Media, Telecom, and Internet Council, along with 22 other national civil rights and social justice organizations, filed a letter with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, Urging the Commission to institute comprehensive reforms to inmate calling services. The full text of the letter is below.

Prison BarsOctober 14, 2015

Hon. Tom Wheeler
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street S.W.
Washington, D.C.  20554

RE:   Inmate Calling Services WC Docket No. 12-375

Dear Chairman Wheeler:

The undersigned 23 national civil rights and social justice organizations (“the Civil Rights Coalition”), representing thousands of constituents, urge the Commission to institute comprehensive reforms to inmate calling services (ICS) that will create more affordable rates for the incarcerated and their families.

We believe that the predatory practices in the prison payphone marketplace are unacceptable and further disadvantage populations desiring a reasonable gateway to ongoing communications between incarcerated persons and their loved ones.

The Civil Rights Coalition supports the Commission’s plans to proceed with cap rates for all ICS calls, including local, long-distance and international, and the imposition of limits on excessive fees on calls.[1]  Over the last 15 years, inmates and their families have experienced a virtual tax on their pain by paying phone rates that far exceed those paid by average Americans, while this cruelty has enabled the prison payphone industry to skyrocket to $1.2 billion in assets.[2]   [click to continue…]

The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council, National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, National Association of Broadcasters, and 50 minority and women CEOs representing over 140 AM radio stations across the nation, have been vocal proponents of concrete action from the Federal Communications Commission to revitalize AM radio and promote diverse broadcast ownership.  This week, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai released a statement expressing strong support for AM revitalization and urging the other commissioners to decide where they stand on the issue.  Pai’s full statement is below.

WASHINGTON, October 1, 2015.—Yesterday, I proposed to my colleagues that we include in the AM radio revitalization item an exclusive window for AM broadcasters to obtain new FM translators. This was the lead proposal in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking unanimously adopted two years ago under the leadership of then-Acting Chairwoman Clyburn. It has received overwhelming support, including previously from a majority of the FCC’s current members.

The moment of decision has arrived; Commissioners will now have to decide with whom they will stand. Will they stand with AM broadcasters across the country? Will they stand with 50 CEOs of minority-owned AM radio licensees? Will they stand with the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters? Will they stand with the Multicultural Media, Telecom, and Internet Council? Will they stand with U.S. House of Representatives and Congressional Black Caucus members Yvette Clarke, Bobby Rush, G.K. Butterfield, Brenda Lawrence, Stacey Plaskett, Elijah Cummings, Andre Carson, Hakeem Jeffries, Donald Payne, Jr., Karen Bass, David Scott, and Marcia Fudge? Will they stand with former Commissioners Michael Copps and Robert McDowell? In short, will they stand for revitalization of a communications service that predates the FCC itself and has exemplified localism, competition, and diversity in broadcasting?

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On October 1, the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC), National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), and National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) filed a joint letter with the Federal Communications Commission, urging the Commission to take steps to revitalize AM radio, which has had dangerously low levels of minority ownership since the FCC repealed its minority tax certificate policy in 1995. The full text of the letter is below. For more information on the tax certificate policy, AM translators, and other measures to promote diversity in broadcast ownership, please see Kim Keenan’s testimony before the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, here

Spectrum AirwavesOctober 1, 2015
Marlene H. Dortch, Esq.
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington DC 20554

Re: Revitalization of the AM Radio Service, MB Docket No. 13-249, Notice of Ex Parte Communication

Dear Ms. Dortch:

The National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) each appreciate the Commission’s, particularly the Media Bureau’s, ongoing efforts to help revitalize AM radio. AM service is an important part of how our local communities are informed and entertained and provides a critical entry point for those who seek to have their voices heard, including women and minorities. While we understand that Chairman Wheeler remains committed to his new 250-mile waiver proposal and recognize some value in that approach, we strongly urge the Commission to combine that initiative with an exclusive window for AM stations to obtain FM translators. AM radio service is already significantly hampered and minority ownership is at dangerously low levels. The AM-only window is the only way to ensure that small, rural and minority stations do not get left behind.

We remind the Commission that since the window was proposed two years ago, there has been no meaningful opposition to it. In addition, an AM-only window to obtain FM translators has garnered widespread support from nearly every corner. Dozens of minority broadcasters wrote the Commission recently detailing its importance to their businesses and to paving the way for future minority station owners. The Congressional Black Caucus leadership echoed this sentiment as well. Former Commissioners Michael Copps and Robert McDowell authored a bipartisan letter detailing just how critical an exclusive window is for small and minority AM broadcasters.  [click to continue…]

At 9:30 am today, MMTC President and CEO Kim M. Keenan will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, discussing “Broadcast Ownership in the 21st Century.”  Her full testimony is available below. More details and a full list of other speakers are available on the Subcommittee website, here.  The website will begin streaming live at the start of the hearing.

Capitol Hill - wallygINTRODUCTION

Chairman Walden, Ranking Member Eshoo, distinguished Members of the Subcommittee, and esteemed colleagues on the panel, I am honored to appear before the Subcommittee today to address this nation’s efforts to promote and preserve opportunities for diversity in the ownership of our nation’s airwaves.

My name is Kim Keenan, and I serve as President and CEO of the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (“MMTC”), a national nonprofit founded 29 years ago to promote equal opportunity and social justice in the mass media, telecommunications and broadband industries.  MMTC proudly partners with dozens of national and local civil rights and advocacy organizations.  We have worked with both the private and public sectors to facilitate diverse ownership in the broadcast industry.  In an effort to do our part to increase minority broadcast ownership, MMTC’s nonprofit Media and Telecom Brokerage division has participated in nearly $2B in transactions, which represent nearly one-third of all broadcast station sales to women and people of color since 1997.

At MMTC, we believe that, consistent with the mandate of Sections 151, 257 and 309 of the Communications Act, our nation’s media must reflect the cultural and viewpoint diversity of our nation.  The late Dr. Everett C. Parker, one of MMTC’s co-founders and a minister for the United Church of Christ, who passed away last week at the age of 102, said he fought to desegregate radio and television stations because: “if we want the voiceless to have a voice that everyone can hear, we have to have robust minority broadcast ownership.  It is essential to our democracy.”  This message of advancing diverse media ownership still resonates as MMTC and other media advocates push for equity in representation and participation in the broadcasting industry.

For the purpose of  this hearing, I will address why minority ownership continues to lag in the broadcast industries, and close with an immediate opportunity available through the FCC’s current AM revitalization Notice that could foster meaningful engagement for minority broadcasters.  In reference to the House Background Memo, MMTC will not testify regarding cross-ownership and takes no position on the cross-ownership rule given the changes in the marketplace.  [click to continue…]